Many of us hope to live a long life, which includes being of sound mind and body. While there's lots of education and emphasis on physical health as a way to live longer--maintaining a healthy weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc.--not nearly as much is discussed around keeping the brain in good working order long term.
Six Habits You Can Develop Now Make for Better Brain Health Later
Rudy Tanzi, vice chair of neurology and director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, says research shows making good choices now can help you, as he puts it, S.H.I.E.L.D. the brain from damage. The acronym stands for these healthy brain habits:
Sleep seven to eight hours each day.
If necessary, take naps. It's the collective amount that matters. You need to give the brain enough time to recover and strengthen against mental stressors. Which leads to...
Handle your stress.
Keeping stress under control minimizes negative effects to the brain.
Interact with others daily.
Socializing keeps the brain happy, positive, and engaged.
Working out removes inflammation and plaques from the brain.
Learn new things.
This creates new synapses in our brain. The more you have, the longer it takes for your brain to run out of them.
Diet with intention.
Gut health impacts brain health. Its effect on your microbiome matters a lot as it has a profound effect on neuroinflammation.
P.S.: The most successful people share the same mindset.
Developing the six habits above is much easier when you embrace a growth mindset. Studies show people who are happier, wealthier, and more successful frame their views around gratitude and abundance, as opposed to succeed-fail or win-lose, making it easier for them to want to make better choices and develop stronger habits. If you're struggling to adopt some of the habits above, consider exploring how zero-sum thinking is likely holding you back.